Check out this small but mighty glossary for some of the most common phrases our TopstepTV Crew uses for Futures Trading! 📚

$5K Club

Those Topstep traders who have withdrawn $5,000 or more from their funded level trading accounts.

b-Shaped Profile

A market profile pattern that represents a market dominated by selling and indicative of long liquidation.


When something happens that is unexpected and volatile in the market.


Intermediaries executing orders for commissions.

Busting a trade

Voiding a trade due to errors or CME/exchange rule violations when trades were made on the floor.


When you add more and more to a losing position as it goes against you.

Contract Size

Number of units in a futures or options contract. E.g. 1000 barrels of crude oil.

Delta (futures)

An order flow measurement that totals the number of contracts that trade on the offer (positive delta) minus the number of contracts that trade on the bid (negative delta).

Delta Divergence

Price moving in one direction with Delta growing in the opposite direction.

Excess High

A high characterized by a series of single print profiles.

Excess Low

A low characterized by a series of single print profiles.

Failed Auction

When price extends beyond the current range but does not maintain price outside of the previous range. Typically rejection of price above or below the initial balance.

Fat Finger

A fat finger is an error caused by pressing or clicking the wrong button on your trading platform, resulting in an unwanted position or inadvertently closing an open position. Fat fingers are human errors, not computer-generated errors.

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) consists of twelve members–the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and four of the remaining eleven Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis.


An acronym that represents the “fear of missing out.” FOMO leads to many bad behaviors including revenge trading, over trading, and poor trade location.


Offset risk with an opposite position in a different market or contract month.


Large resting order that does not disclose the actual size bid or offered.


Coming to the markets unprepared – scatterbrained. Or, a commotion or confrontation caused by conflicting views.


Traders on exchange trading floors that traded for themselves (not a broker).


Buying with the expectation of a price rise.

Moron Trade

Adding to a losing position – putting “more-on”


The OODA Loop is a decision-making framework that consists of four stages: observation (O), orientation (O), decision (D), and action (A).

Open Interest

How many contracts have been traded that have been carried over & not closed from previous sessions.

Opening Range

Hoag considers the first minute of trading during regular trading hours to be the opening range.

P-Shaped Profile

A market profile pattern that represents a market dominated by buying and indicative of short-covering.


Reference to the presence of large orders to buy or sell from institutional or professional traders. The term “paper” is used to distunguish larger orders from small retail orders.

PCP Trade

A trade you feel you have to enter regardless of price action. PCP stands for “Point, click, and pray!” Trend days might be a day to “PCP” but be careful not to fall into FOMO.

Pulled Pork

Using your max position size in a proprietary trading account.

Range Day

When price establishes a range and then rotates largely between the high and ow of the early range.

Range Extension

When any new high or new low is made after the Initial Balance is established during Regular Trading Hours.

Regular Trading Hours (RTH)

Regular trading hours in the futures markets refer to the old trading floor pit trading hours. For example, RTH for the E-Mini S&P 500 is 8:30am- 3:15pm CST.


Getting stabbed in a Philadelphia parking lot.


Selling with the hope of buying back at a lower price.

Short Covering

Offsetting short positions either to profit or to establish losses.

Short In The Hole

Short in a bad trade location; eg, in a short position near the low of the day.


Quantity of shares/contracts traded.


Trade execution at a different price than expected (usually stemming from a fast market environment or a sizable order that exhausts resting bids or offers). Only occurs with market orders.

Spin Cycle

A situation where there is a rapid and unpredictable change in market conditions, rapidly forcing traders in and out of the market, likely at bad entry and exit prices.


Placing deceptive orders to manipulate others or give a false sense of doing business at a specific price.


Difference between buy/sell price or the price between different products and contract months.


The real-time aggregate positions, sentiment, and bias of all Topstep traders.


The minimum price increment a contract can change.

Trading On Tilt

Trading on tilt is when a trader’s emotions, like fear and greed, heavily impact their decisions, often resulting in impulsive and irrational actions.

Trend Day

A day when price moves in basically one direction, higher or lower, for the entire day. Higher highs and higher lows would be an indication of potential trend.


How many contracts have been traded.


When the market fails do do as expected after entry, or price just “wiggles” without direction.

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Every Friday afternoon, Topstep Performance Coach John Hoagland fires up his charts to find his Weekly Kickoff Levels, which identify the trends and “areas of importance” futures traders should look out for in the coming week.